James Fenimore Cooper
Part 3 out of 9
followed. Singing was somewhat of a _forte_ with me, and I have reason to
think I made out quite as well as the best of them. I know that Anneke
seemed pleased, and I saw tears in her eyes, as I concluded a song that was
intended to produce just such an effect.
At length the youthful mistress of the house arose, reminding her father
that he had at table the principal performer of the evening, by way of a
caution, when three or four of us handed the ladies to the drawing-room
door. Instead of returning to the table, I entered the room, and Bulstrode
did the same, under the plea of its being necessary for him to drink no
more, on account of the work before him.
[Footnote 13: Mr. Cornelius Littlepage betrays not a little of provincial
admiration, as the reader will see. I have not thought it necessary to
prune these passages, their causes being too familiar to leave any danger
of their insertion's being misunderstood. Admiration of Broadway, certainly
not more than a third-class street, as streets go in the old world, is so
very common among us as to need no apology.--EDITOR.]
[Footnote 14: The provincial admiration of Mr. Cornelius Littlepage was not
quite as much in fault, as respects the church, as the superciliousness of
our more modern tastes and opinions may lead us to suspect. The church that
was burned in 1776, was a larger edifice than that just pulled down, and,
in many respects, was its superior.--EDITOR.]
"Odd's bodikins, man, much better: use
Every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape
Whipping? use them after your own honour
And dignity: the less they deserve, the more
Merit is in your bounty."
"Harris will be _hors de combat_" Bulstrode soon observed, "unless I can
manage to get him from the table.--You know he is to play Marcia this
evening; and, though a _little_ wine will give him fire and spirit for the
part, too much will impair its feminine beauties. Addison never intended
that 'the virtuous Marcia,' in towering above her sex, was to be picked
out of a kennel, or from under a table. Harris is a true Irish peer, when
claret is concerned."
All the ladies held up their hands, and protested against Mr. Harris' being
permitted to act a travestie on their sex. As yet, no one had known how the
characters were to be cast, beyond the fact that Bulstrode himself was to
play Cato, for great care had been taken to keep the bills of the night
from being seen, in order that the audience might have the satisfaction of
finding out, who was who, for themselves. At the close of each piece a bill
was to be sent round, among the favoured few, telling the truth. As Anneke
declared that her father never locked in his guests, and had faithfully
promised to bring up everybody for coffee, in the course of half an hour,
it was determined to let things take their own way.
Sure enough, at the end of the time mentioned, Herman Mordaunt appeared,
with all the men, from the table. Harris was not tipsy, as I found was
very apt to be the case with him after dinner, but neither was he sober.
According to Bulstrode's notion, he may have had just fire enough to
play the 'virtuous Marcia.' In a few minutes he hurried the ensign off,
declaring that, like Hamlet's ghost, their hour had come. At seven, the
whole party left the house in a body to walk to the theatre. Herman
Mordaunt did not keep a proper town equipage, and, if he had, it would
not have contained a fourth of our company. In this, however, we were not
singular, as nine in ten of the audience that night, I mean nine in ten of
the gentle sex, went to the theatre on foot.
Instead of going directly down Crown Street, into Maiden Lane, which would
have been the nearest way to the theatre, we went out into Broadway, and
round by Wall Street, the walking being better, and the gutters farther
from the ladies; the centre of the street being at no great distance from
the houses, in the narrower passages of the town. We found a great many
well-dressed people moving in the same direction with ourselves. Herman
Mordaunt remarked that he had never before seen so many hoops, cardinals,
cocked hats and swords in the streets, at once, as he saw that evening. All
the carriages in town rolled past us as we went down Wall Street, and by
the time we reached William Street, the pavements resembled a procession,
more than anything else. As every one was in full dress, the effect was
pleasing, and the evening being fine, most of the gentlemen carried their
hats in their hands, in order not to disturb their curls, thus giving to
the whole the air of a sort of vast drawing-room. I never saw a more lovely
creature than Anneke Mordaunt appeared, as she led our party, on this
occasion. The powder had got a little out of her fine auburn hair, and on
the part of the head that was not concealed by a cap, that shaded half her
beautiful face, it seemed as if the rich covering bestowed by nature
was about to break out of all restraint, and shade her bust with its
exuberance. Her negligee was a rich satin, flounced in front, while the
lace that dropped from her elbows seemed as if woven by fairies, expressly
for a fairy to wear. She had paste buckles in her shoes, and I thought I
had never beheld such a foot, as was occasionally seen peeping from beneath
her dress, while she walked daintily, yet with the grace of a queen, at my
side. I do not thus describe Anneke with a view of inducing the reader to
fancy her stately and repulsive; on the contrary, winning ease and natural
grace were just as striking in her manner, as were beauty, and sentiment,
and feeling in her countenance. More than once, as we walked side by side,
did I become painfully conscious how unworthy I was to fill the place I
occupied. I believe this humility is one of the surest signs of sincere
At length we reached the theatre, and were permitted to enter. All the
front seats were occupied by blacks, principally in New York liveries; that
is to say, with cuffs, collars and pocket-flaps of a cloth different from
the coat, though a few were in lace. These last belonged to the topping
families, several of which gave colours and ornaments almost as rich as
those that I understand are constantly given at home. I well remember that
two entire boxes were retained by servants, in shoulder-knots, and much
richer dresses than common, one of whom belonged to the Lt. Governor,
and the other to my Lord Loudon, who was then Commander-In-Chief. As the
company entered, these domestics disappeared, as is usual, and we all
took our seats on the benches thus retained for us. Bulstrode's care was
apparent in the manner in which he had provided for Anneke, and her party,
which, I will take it on myself to say, was one of the most striking, for
youth and good looks, that entered the house that evening.
Great was the curiosity, and deep the feeling, that prevailed, among the
younger portion of the audience in particular, as party after party was
seated, that important evening. The house was ornamented as a theatre, and
I thought it vast in extent; though Herman Mordaunt assured me it was
no great things, in that point of view, as compared with most of the
playhouses at home. But the ornaments, and the lights, and the curtain, the
pit, the boxes the gallery, were all so many objects of intense interest.
Few of us said anything; but our eyes wandered over all with a species of
delight, that I am certain can be felt in a theatre only once. Anneke's
sweet face was a picture of youthful expectation; an expectation, however,
in which intelligence and discretion had their full share. The orchestra
was said to have an undue portion of wind instruments in it; though I
perceived ladies all over the house, including those in our own box,
returning the bows of many of the musicians, who, I was told, were
_amateurs_ from the army and the drawing-rooms of the town.
At length the Commander-In-Chief and the Lt. Governor entered together,
occupying the same box, though two had been provided, their attendants
having recourse to the second. The commotion produced by these arrivals had
hardly subsided, when the curtain arose, and a new world was presented to
our view! Of the playing, I shall not venture to say much; though to me
it seemed perfection. Bulstrode gained great applause that night; and I
understand that divers gentlemen, who had either been educated at home,
or who had passed much time there, declared that his Cato would have done
credit to either of the royal theatres. His dress appeared to me to be
everything it should be; though I cannot describe it. I remember that
Syphax wore the uniform of a colonel of dragoons, and Juba, that of a
general officer; and that there was a good deal of criticism expended, and
some offence taken, because the gentlemen who played these parts came out
in wool, and with their faces blacked. It was said, in answer to these
feelings, that the characters were Africans; and that any one might see, by
casting his eyes at the gallery, that Africans are usually black, and that
they have woolly hair; a sort of proof that, I imagine, only aggravated the
offence.  Apart from this little mistake, everything went off well,
even Marcia. It is true, that some evil-inclined person whispered that the
"virtuous Marcia" was a little how-came-you-so; but Bulstrode afterwards
assured me that his condition helped him along amazingly, and that it added
a liquid lustre to his eyes, that might otherwise have been wanting. The
high-heeled shoes appeared to trouble him; but some persons fancied it gave
him a pretty tottering in his walk, that added very much to the deception.
On the whole, the piece went off surprisingly, as I could see by Lord
Loudon and the Lt. Governor, both of whom seemed infinitely diverted.
Herman Mordaunt smiled once or twice, when he ought to have looked grave;
but this I ascribed to a want of practice, of late years, in scenic
representations. He certainly was a man of judgment, and must have known
the proper moments to exhibit particular emotions.
During the interval between the play and the farce, the actors came among
us, to receive the homage they merited, and loud were the plaudits that
were bestowed on them. Anneke's bright eyes sparkled with pleasure as she
admitted, without reserve, to Bulstrode the pleasure she had received, and
confessed she had formed no idea, hitherto, of the beauty and power of a
theatrical representation, aided as was this, by the auxiliaries of lights,
dress and scenery. It is true, the women had been a little absurd, and the
"virtuous Marcia" particularly so; but the fine sentiments of Addison,
which, though as Herman Mordaunt observed, they had all the accuracy and
all the stiffness of a pedantic age, were sufficiently beautiful and
just, to cover the delinquencies of the Hon. Mr. Harris. She hoped the
afterpiece would be of the same general character, that they might all
enjoy it as much as they had the play itself.
The other young ladies were equally decided in their praise, though it
struck me that Anneke _felt_ the most, on the occasion. That the Major had
obtained a great advantage by his efforts, I could not but see; and the
folly of my having any pretensions with one who was courted by such a
rival, began to impress itself on my imagination with a force I found
painful. But the bell soon summoned away the gallant actors, in order to
dress for the farce.
The long interval that occurred between the two pieces, gave ample
opportunity for visiting one's acquaintances, and to compare opinions. I
went to my aunt's box, and found her well satisfied, though less animated
than the younger ladies, in the expression of her pleasure. My uncle was
altogether himself; good-natured, but not disposed to award any indiscreet
amount of praise.
"Pretty well for boys, Corny," he said, "though the youngster who acted
Marcia had better been at school. I do not know his name, but he completely
took all the virtue out of Marcia. He must have studied her character from
some of the ladies who follow the camp."
"My dear uncle, how differently you think from all in our box! That
gentleman is the Hon. Mr. Harris, who is only eighteen, and has a pair of
colours in the ----th, and is a son of Lord Ballybannon, or Bally-something
else, and is said to have the softest voice in the army!"
"Ay, and the softest head, too, I'll answer for it. I tell you, Corny, the
Hon. Mr. Ballybilly, who is only eighteen, and has a pair of colours in
the ----th, and the softest voice in the army, had better been at school,
instead of undermining the virtue of the 'virtuous Marcia,' as he has so
obviously done. Bulstrode did well enough; capitally well, for an amateur,
and must be a first-rate fellow. By the way, Jane"--that was my aunt's
name--"they tell me, he is likely to marry that exceedingly pretty daughter
of Herman Mordaunt, and make her Lady Bulstrode, one of these days."
"Why not, Mr. Legge?--Anne Mordaunt is as sweet a girl as there is in the
colony, and is very respectably connected. They even say the Mordaunts are
of a high family at home. Mary Wallace told me that Herman Mordaunt and Sir
Henry Bulstrode are themselves related; and you know, my dear, how intimate
the Mordaunts and the Wallaces are?"
"Not I;--I know nothing of their intimacies, though I dare say it may be
all true. Mordaunt's father was an English gentleman of some family, I have
always heard, though he was as poor as a church-mouse, when he married one
of our Dutch heiresses; and as for Herman Mordaunt himself, he proved he
had not lost the instinct by marrying another, though she did not happen to
be Dutch. Here comes Anneke to inherit it all, and I'll answer for it that
care is had that she shall marry an heir."
"Well, Mr. Bulstrode is an heir, and the eldest son of a baronet. I am
always pleased when one of our girls makes a good connection at home, for
it does the colony credit. It is an excellent thing, Corny, to have our
interest well sustained at home--especially before the Privy Council, they
"Well, I am not," answered my uncle. "I think it more to the credit of the
colony for its young women to take up with its young men, and its young men
with its young women. I wish Anne Mordaunt had been substituted for the
Hon. Ballyshannon to-night. She would have made a thousand times better
"You surely would not have had a young lady of respectability appear in
public, in this way, Mr. Legge."
My uncle said something to this, for he seldom let "Jane" get the better of
it for want of an answer; but as I left the box, I did not hear his reply.
It seemed then to be settled, in the minds of most persons, that Bulstrode
was to marry Anneke! I cannot describe the new shock this opinion gave me;
but it seemed to make me more fully sensible of the depth of the impression
that had been made on myself, in the intercourse of a single week. The
effect was such that I did not return to the party I had left, but sought
a seat in a distant part of the theatre, though one in which I could
distinctly see those I had abandoned.
The Beaux Stratagem soon commenced, and Bulstrode was again seen in the
character of Scrub. Those who were most familiar with the stage, pronounced
his playing to be excellent--far better in the footman than in the Roman
Senator. The play itself struck me as being as broad and coarse as could be
tolerated; but as it had a reputation at home, where it had a great name,
our matrons did not dare to object to it. I was glad to see the smiles soon
disappear from Anneke's face, however, and to discover that _she_ found
no pleasure in scenes so unsuited to her sex and years. The short, quick
glances that were exchanged between Anneke and Mary Wallace, did not escape
me, and the manner in which they both rose, as soon as the curtain dropped,
told quite plainly the haste they were in to quit the theatre. I reached
their box-door in time to assist them through the crowd.
Not a word was said by any of us, until we reached the street, where two or
three of Miss Mordaunt's female friends became loud in the expression of
their satisfaction. Neither Anneke nor Mary Wallace said anything, and so
well did I understand the nature of their feelings, that I made no allusion
whatever to the farce. As for the others, they did but chime in with what
appeared to be the common opinion, and were to be pitied rather than
condemned. It was perhaps the more excusable in them to imagine such a play
right, inasmuch as they must have known it was much extolled at home, a
fact that gave any custom a certain privilege in the colonies. A mother
country has much of the same responsibility as a natural mother, herself,
since its opinions and example are apt to be quoted in the one case by the
dependant, in justification of its own opinions and conduct, as it is by
the natural offspring in the other.
I fancy, notwithstanding, this sort of responsibility gives the ministers
or people of England very little trouble, since I never could discover
any sensitiveness to their duties on this score. We all went in at Herman
Mordaunt's, after walking to the house as we had walked from it, and were
made to take a light supper, including some delicious chocolate. Just as
we sat down to table, Bulstrode joined us, to receive the praises he had
earned, and to enjoy his triumph. He got a seat directly opposite to mine,
on Anneke's left hand, and soon began to converse.
"In the first place," he cried, "you must all admit that Tom Harris did
wonders to-night as Miss Marcia Cato. I had my own trouble with the rogue,
for there is no precedent for a tipsy Marcia; but we managed to keep him
straight, and that was the nicest part of my management, let me assure
"Yes," observed Herman Mordaunt, drily; "I should think keeping Tom Harris
straight, after dinner, an exploit of no little difficulty, but a task that
would demand a very judicious management, indeed."
"You were pleased to express your satisfaction with the performance of
Cato, Miss Mordaunt," said Bulstrode, in a very deferential and solicitous
manner; "but I question if the entertainment gave you as much pleasure?"
"It certainly did not. Had the representation ended with the first piece, I
am afraid I should too much regret that we are without a regular stage; but
the farce will take off much of the keenness of such regrets."
"I fear I understand you, cousin Anne, and greatly regret that we did not
make another choice," returned Bulstrode, with a humility that was not
usual in his manner, even when addressing Anneke Mordaunt; "but I can
assure you the play has great vogue at home; and the character of Scrub, in
particular, has usually been a prodigious favourite. I see by your look,
however, that enough has been said; but after having done so much to amuse
this good company, to-night, I shall feel authorised to call on every lady
present, at least for a song, as soon as the proper moment arrives. Perhaps
I have a right to add, a sentiment, and a toast."
And songs, and toasts, and sentiments, we had, as usual, the moment we had
done eating. It was, and indeed _is_, rather more usual to indulge in this
innocent gaiety after supper, than after dinner, with us; and that night
everybody entered into the feeling of the moment with spirit. Herman
Mordaunt gave "Miss Markham," as he had done at dinner, and this with an
air so determined, as to prove no one else would ever be got out of _him_.
"There is a compact between Miss Markham and myself, to toast each other
for the remainder of our lives," cried the master of the house, laughing;
"and we are each too honest ever to violate it."
"But Miss Mordaunt is under no such engagement," put in a certain Mr.
Benson, who had manifested much interest in the beautiful young mistress of
the house throughout the day; "and I trust we shall not be put off by any
such excuse from her."
"It is not in rule to ask two of the same race for toasts in succession,"
answered Herman Mordaunt. "There is Mr. Bulstrode dying to give us another
"With all my heart," said Bulstrode, gaily. "This time it shall be Lady
"Married or single, Bulstrode?" inquired Billings, as I thought with some
"No matter which, so long as she be a beauty and a toast. I believe it
is now my privilege to call on a lady, and I beg a gentleman from Miss
There had been an expression of pained surprise, at the trifling between
Billings and Bulstrode, in Anneke's sweet countenance; for, in the
simplicity of our provincial habits, we of the colonies did not think it
exactly in rule for the single to toast the married, or _vice versa_; but
the instant her friend was thus called on, it changed for a look of gentle
concern. Mary Wallace manifested no concern, however, but gave "Mr. Francis
"Ay, Frank Fordham, with all my heart," cried Herman Mordaunt. "I hope he
will return to his native country as straight-forward, honest, and good as
he left it."
"Mr. Fordham is then abroad?" inquired Bulstrode. "I thought the name new
"If being at home can be called being abroad. He is reading law at the
This was the answer of Mary Wallace, who looked as if she felt a friendly
interest in the young Templar, but no more. She now called on Dirck for
his lady. Throughout the whole of that day, Dirck's voice had hardly been
heard; a reserve that comported well enough with his youth and established
diffidence. This appeal, however, seemed suddenly to arouse all that there
was of manhood in him; and that was not a little, I can tell the reader,
when there was occasion to use it. Dirck's nature was honesty itself; and
he felt that the appeal was too direct, and the occasion too serious, to
admit of duplicity. He loved but one, esteemed but one, felt for one only;
and it was not in his nature to cover his preference by any attempt at
deception. After colouring to the ears, appearing distressed, he made an
effort, and pronounced the name of--"Anneke Mordaunt."
A common laugh rewarded this blunder; common with all but the fair creature
who had extorted this involuntary tribute, and myself, who knew Dirck's
character too well not to understand how very much he must be in earnest
thus to lay bare the most cherished secret of his heart. The mirth
continued some time, Herman Mordaunt appearing to be particularly pleased,
and applauding his kinsman's directness with several 'bravos' very
distinctly uttered. As for Anneke, I saw she looked touched, while she
looked concerned, and as if she would be glad to have the thing undone.
"After all, Dirck, much as I admire your spirit and plain dealing, boy,"
cried Herman Mordaunt, "Miss Wallace can never let such a toast pass. She
will insist on having another."
"I!--I protest I am well pleased with it, and ask for no other," exclaimed
the lady in question. "No toast can be more agreeable to me than Anneke
Mordaunt, and I particularly like the quarter from which this comes."
"If friends can be trusted in a matter of this nature," put in Bulstrode,
with a little pique, "Mr. Follock has every reason to be contented. Had I
known, however, that the customs of New York allowed a lady who is present
to be toasted, that gentleman would not have had the merit of being the
first to make this discovery."
"Nor is it," said Herman Mordaunt; "and Dirck must hunt up another to
supply my daughter's place."
But no other was forthcoming from the stores of Dirck Follock's mind. Had
he a dozen names in reserve, not one of them would he have produced under
circumstances that might seem like denying his allegiance to the girl
already given; but he _could_ not name any other female. So, after some
trifling, the company attributing Dirck's hesitation to his youth and
ignorance of the world, abandoned the attempt, desiring him to call on
Anneke herself for a toast in turn.
"_Cousin_ Dirck Van Valkenburgh," said Anneke, with the greater
self-possession and ease of her sex, though actually my friend's junior by
more than two years; laying some emphasis, at the same time, on the word
"There!" exclaimed Dirck, looking exultingly at Bulstrode; "you see,
gentlemen and ladies, that _it_ is permitted to toast a person present, if
you happen to respect and esteem that person!"
"By which, sir, we are to understand how much Miss Mordaunt respects and
esteems Mr. Dirck Van Valkenburgh," answered Bulstrode gravely. "I am
afraid there is only too much justice in an opinion that might, at the
first blush, seem to savour of self-love."
"An imputation I am far from denying," returned Anneke, with a steadiness
that showed wonderful self-command, did she really return any of Dirck's
attachment. "My kinsman gives me as his toast, and I give him as mine. Is
there anything unnatural in that?"
Here there was an outbreak of raillery at Anneke's expense, which the young
lady bore with a calmness and composure that at first astonished me. But
when I came to reflect that she had been virtually at the head of her
father's house for several years, and that she had always associated with
persons older than herself, it appeared more natural; for it is certain
we can either advance or retard the character by throwing a person into
intimate association with those who, by their own conversation, manners,
or acquirements, are most adapted for doing either. In a few minutes the
interruption was forgotten by those who had no interest in the subject,
and the singing commenced. I had obtained so much credit by my attempt at
dinner, that I had the extreme gratification of being asked to sing another
song by Anneke herself. Of course I complied, and I thought the company
seemed pleased. As for my young hostess, I knew she looked more gratified
with my song than with the afterpiece, and that I felt to be something.
Dirck had an occasion to renew a little of the ground lost by the toast,
for he sang a capital comic song in Low Dutch. It is true, not half the
party understood him, but the other half laughed until the tears rolled
down their cheeks, and there was something so droll in my friend's manner,
that everybody was delighted. The clocks struck twelve before we broke up.
I staid in town but a day or two longer, meeting my new acquaintances every
day, and sometimes twice a-day, however, on Trinity Church Walk. I paid
visits of leave-taking with a heavy heart, and most of all to Anneke and
"I understood from Follock," said Herman Mordaunt, when I explained the
object of my call, "that you are to leave town to-morrow. Miss Mordaunt and
her friend, Miss Wallace, go to Lilacsbush this afternoon; for it is high
time to look after the garden and the flowers, many of which are now in
full bloom. I shall join them in the evening and I propose that you young
men, take a late breakfast with us, on your way to Westchester. A cup of
coffee before you start, and getting into your saddle at six, will bring
all right. I promise you that you shall be on the road again by one, which
will give you plenty of time to reach Satanstoe before dark."
I looked at Anneke, and fancied that the expression of her countenance was
favourable. Dirck left everything to me, and I accepted the invitation.
This arrangement shortened my visit in Crown Street, and I left the house
with a lighter heart than that with which I had entered it. It is always so
agreeable to get an unpleasant duty deferred!
Next day Dirck and I were in the saddle at six precisely, and we rode
through the streets just as the blacks were washing down their stoops and
side-walks; though there were but very few of the last, in my youth. This
is a commodious improvement, and one that it is not easy to see how the
ladies could dispense with, and which is now getting to be pretty common;
all the new streets, I see, being provided with the convenience.
It was a fine May morning, and the air was full of the sweet fragrance of
the lilac, in particular, as we rode into the country. Just as we got into
the Bowery Lane, a horseman was seen walking out of one of the by-streets,
and coming our way. He no sooner caught sight of two travellers going in
his own direction, than he spurred forward to join us; being alone, and
probably wishing company. As it would have been churlish to refuse to
travel in company with one thus situated, we pulled up, walking our horses
until the stranger joined us; when, to our surprise, it turned out to be
Jason Newcome. The pedagogue was as much astonished when he recognised us,
as we were in recognising him; and I believe he was a little disappointed;
for Jason was so fond of making acquaintances, that it was always a
pleasure to him to be thus employed. It appeared that he had been down
on the island to visit a relative, who had married and settled in that
quarter; and this was the reason we had not met since the morning of the
affair of the lion. Of course we trotted on together, neither glad nor
sorry at having this particular companion.
I never could explain the process by means of which Jason wound his way
into everybody's secrets. It is true he had no scruples about asking
questions; putting those which most persons would think forbidden by the
usages of society, with as little hesitation as those which are universally
permitted. The people of New England have a reputation this way; and I
remember to have heard Mr. Worden account for the practice in the following
way: Everything and everybody was brought under rigid church government
among the Puritans; and, when a whole community gets the notion that it is
to sit in judgment on every act of one of its members, it is quite natural
that it should extend that right to an inquiry into all his affairs. One
thing is certain; our neighbours of Connecticut do assume a control over
the acts and opinions of individuals that is not dreamed of in New York;
and I think it very likely that the practice of pushing inquiry into
private things, has grown up under this custom.
As one might suppose, Jason, whenever baffled in an attempt to obtain
knowledge by means of inquiries, more or less direct, sought to advance his
ends through conjectures; taking those that were the most plausible, if
any such could be found, but putting up with those that had not even
this questionable recommendation, if nothing better offered. He was,
consequently, for ever falling into the grossest errors, for, necessarily
making his conclusions on premises drawn from his own ignorance and
inexperience, he was liable to fall into serious mistakes at the very
outset. Nor was this the worst; the tendency of human nature not being very
directly to charity, the harshest constructions were sometimes blended with
the most absurd blunders, in his mind, and I have known him to be often
guilty of assertions, that had no better foundation than these conjectures,
which might have subjected him to severe legal penalties.
On the present occasion, Jason was not long in ascertaining where we were
bound. This was done in a manner so characteristic and ingenious, that I
will attempt to relate it.
"Why, you're out early, this morning, gentlemen," exclaimed Jason,
affecting surprise. "What in natur' has started you off before breakfast?"
"So as to be certain not to lose our suppers at Satanstoe, this evening," I
"Suppers? why, you will almost reach home (Jason _would_ call this word
_hum_) by dinner-time; that is, your York dinner-time. Perhaps you mean to
call by the way?"
"Perhaps we do, Mr. Newcorne; there are many pleasant families between this
"I know there be. There's the great Mr. Van Cortlandt's at Yonker's;
perhaps you mean to stop there?"
"No, sir; we have no such intention."
"Then there's the rich Count Philips's, on the river; that would be no
great matter out of the way?"
"It's farther than we intend to turn."
"Oh! so you _do_ intend to turn a bit aside! Well, there's that Mr.
Mordaunt, whose daughter you pulled out of the lion's paws;--he has a house
near King's-Bridge, called Lilacsbush."
"And how did you ascertain that, Jason?"
"By asking. Do you think I would let such a thing happen, and not inquire
a little about the young lady? Nothing is ever lost by putting a few
questions, and inquiring round; and I did not forget the rule in her case."
"And you ascertained that the young lady's father has a place called
Lilacsbush, in this neighbourhood?"
"I did; and a queer York fashion it is to give a house a name, just as you
would a Christian being; that must be a Roman Catholic custom, and some way
connected with idolatry."
"Out of all doubt. It is far better to say, for instance, that we are going
to breakfast at Mr. Mordaunt's-es-es, than to say we intend to stop at
"Oh! you be, be you? Well, I thought it would turn out that some such place
must have started you off so early. It will be a desperate late breakfast,
"It will be at ten o'oclock, Jason, and that is rather later than common;
but our appetites will be so much the better."
To this Jason assented, and then commenced a series of manoeuvres to be
included in the party. This we did not dare to do, however, and all Jason's
hints were disregarded, until, growing desperate by our evasions, he
plumply proposed to go along, and we as plumply told him we would take no
such liberty with a man of Herman Mordaunt's years, position and character.
I do not know that we should have hesitated so much had we considered Jason
a gentleman, but this was impossible. The custom of the colony admitted
of great freedom in this respect, being very different from what it is
at home, by all accounts, in these particulars; but there was always an
understanding that the persons one brought with him should be of a certain
stamp and class in life; recommendations to which Jason Newcome certainly
had no claim.
The case was getting to be a little embarrassing, when the appearance of
Herman Mordaunt himself, fortunately removed the difficulty. Jason was not
a man to be thrown off very easily; but here was one who had the power, and
who showed the disposition to set things right. Herman Mordaunt had ridden
down the road a mile or two to meet us, intending to lead us by a private
and shorter way to his residence, than that which was already known to us.
He no sooner saw that Jason was of our company, than he asked that as a
favour, which our companion would very gladly have accepted as a boon.
[Footnote 15: In England, Othello is usually played as a black, while in
America he is played as a nondescript; or of no colour that is ordinarily
seen. It is not clear that England is nearer right than America, however;
the Moor not being a negro, any more than he is of the colour of a dried
"I question'd Love, whose early ray
So heavenly bright appears;
And love, in answer, seem'd to say,
His light was dimm'd by tears."
It was not long after the explanation occurred, as respects Jason, and the
invitation was given to include him in our party, before Herman Mordaunt
opened a gate, and led the way into the fields. A very tolerable road
conducted us through some woods, to the heights, and we soon found
ourselves on an eminence, that overlooked a long reach of the Hudson,
extending from Haverstraw, to the north, as far as Staten Island, to the
south; a distance of near forty miles. On the opposite shore, rose the
wall-like barrier of the Palisadoes, lifting the table-land, on their
summits, to an elevation of several hundred feet. The noble river, itself,
fully three-quarters of a mile in width, was unruffled by a breath of air,
lying in one single, extended, placid sheet, under the rays of a bright
sun, resembling molten silver. I scarce remember a lovelier morning;
everything appearing to harmonize with the glorious but tranquil grandeur
of the view, and the rich promises of a bountiful nature. The trees were
mostly covered with the beautiful clothing of a young verdure; the birds
had mated, and were building in nearly every tree; the wild-flowers started
up beneath the hoofs of our horses; and every object, far and near, seemed,
to my young eyes, to be attuned to harmony and love.
"This is a favourite ride of mine, in which Anneke often accompanies
me," said Herman Mordaunt, as we gained the commanding eminence I have
mentioned. "My daughter is a spirited horse-woman, and is often my
companion in these morning rides. She and Mary Wallace should be somewhere
on the hills, at this moment, for they promised to follow me, as soon as
they could dress for the saddle."
A cry of something like wild delight burst out of Dirck, and the next
moment he was galloping away for an adjoining ridge, on the top of which
the beautiful forms of the two girls were just then visible; embellished by
neatly-fitting habits, and beavers with drooping feathers. I pointed out
these charming objects to Herman Mordaunt, and followed my friend, at
half-speed. In a minute or two the parties had joined.
Never had I seen Anneke Mordaunt so perfectly lovely, as she appeared that
morning. The exercise and air had deepened a bloom that was always rich;
and her eyes received new lustre from the glow on her cheeks. Though
expected, I thought she received us as particularly acceptable guests;
while Mary Wallace manifested more than an usual degree of animation, in
her reception. Jason was not forgotten, but was acknowledged as an old
acquaintance, and was properly introduced to the friend.
"You frequently take these rides, Mr. Mordaunt tells me," I said, reining
my horse to the side of that of Anneke's, as the whole party moved on; "and
I regret that Satanstoe is so distant, as to prevent our oftener meeting
of a morning. We have many noted horse-women, in Westchester, who would be
proud of such an acquisition."
"I know several ladies, on your side of Harlem river" Anneke answered,
"and frequently ride in their company; but none so distant as any in your
immediate neighbourhood. My father tells me, he used often to shoot over
the fields of Satanstoe, when a youth; and still speaks of your birds with
"I believe our fathers were once brother-sportsmen. Mr. Bulstrode has
promised to come and imitate their good example. Now you have had time to
reflect on the plays you have seen, do you still feel the same interest in
such representations as at first?"
"I only wish there was not so much to condemn. I think Mr. Bulstrode might
have reached eminence as a player, had not fortune put it, in one sense,
beyond his reach, as an elder son, and a man of family."
"Mr. Bulstrode, they tell me, is not only the heir of an old baronetcy, but
of a large fortune?"
"Such are the facts, I believe. Do you not think it creditable to him, Mr.
Littlepage, that one so situated, should come so far to serve his king and
country, in a rude war like this of our colonies?"
I was obliged to assent, though I heartily wished that Anneke's manner had
been less animated and sincere, as she put the question. Still, I hardly
knew what to think of her feelings towards that gentleman; for, otherwise,
she always heard him named with a calmness and self-possession that I
had observed was not shared by all her young companions, when there was
occasion to allude to the gay and insinuating soldier. I need scarcely say,
it was no disadvantage to Mr. Bulstrode to be the heir of a baronetcy, in
an English colony. Somehow or other, we are a little apt to magnify such
accidental superiority, at a distance from home; and I _have_ heard
Englishmen, themselves, acknowledge that a baronet was a greater man, in
New York, than a duke was in London. These were things, that passed through
my mind, as I rode along at Anneke's side; though I had the discretion not
to give utterance of my thoughts.
"Herman Mordaunt rode in advance, with Jason; and he led the party, by
pretty bridle-paths, along the heights for nearly two miles, occasionally
opening a gate, without dismounting, until he reached a point that
overlooked Lilacsbush, which was soon seen, distant from us less than half
"Here we are, on my own domain," he said, as he pulled up to let us join
him; "that last gate separating me from my nearest neighbour south. These
hills are of no great use, except as early pastures, though they afford
many beautiful views."
"I have heard it predicted," I remarked, "that the time would come, some
day, when the banks of the Hudson would contain many such seats as that of
the Philipses, at Yonkers, and one or two more like it, that I am told are
now standing above the Highlands."
"Quite possibly; it is not easy to foretell what may come to pass in such a
country. I dare say, that in time, both towns and seats will be seen on the
banks of the Hudson, and a powerful and numerous nobility to occupy the
last. By the way, Mr. Littlepage, your father and my friend Col. Follock
have been making a valuable acquisition in lands, I hear; having obtained a
patent for an extensive estate, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Albany?"
"It is not so very extensive, sir, there being only some forty thousand
acres of it, altogether; nor is it very near Albany, by what I can learn,
since it must lie at a distance of some forty miles, or more, from that
town. Next winter, however, Dirck and myself are to go in search of the
land, when we shall learn all about it."
"Then we may meet in that quarter of the country. I have affairs of
importance at Albany, which have been too long neglected; and it has been
my intention to pass some months at the north, next season; and early in
the season, too. We may possibly meet in the woods."
"You have been at Albany, I suppose, Mr. Mordaunt?"
"Quite often, sir; the distance is so great, that one has not much
inducement to go there, unless carried by affairs, however, as has been my
case. I was at Albany before my marriage, and have had various occasions to
visit it since."
"My father was there, when a soldier; and he tells me it is a part of the
province well worth seeing. At all events, I shall encounter the risk and
fatigue next season; for it is useful to young persons to see the world.
Dirck and myself may make the campaign, should there be one in that
I fancied Anneke manifested some interest in this conversation; but we rode
on, and soon alighted at the door of Lilacsbush. Bulstrode was not in the
way, and I had the supreme pleasure of helping Miss Mordaunt to alight,
when we paused a moment before entering the house, to examine the view. I
have given the reader some idea of the general appearance of the place; but
it was necessary to approach it, in order to form a just conception of its
beauties. As its name indicated, the lawn, house, and out-buildings were
all garnished or buried in lilacs, the whole of which were then in full
blossom. The flowers filled the air with a species of purple light, that
cast a warm and soft radiance even on the glowing face of Anneke, as she
pointed out to me the magical effect. I know no flower that does so much
to embellish a place, as the lilac, on a large scale, common as it is, and
familiar as we have become with its hues and its fragrance.
"We enjoy the month our lilacs are out, beyond any month in the year," said
Anneke, smiling at my surprise and delight; "and we make it a point to pass
most of it here. You will at least own, Mr. Littlepage, that Lilacsbush is
"The effect is more like enchantment than anything else!" I cried. "I
did not know that the simple, modest lilac could render anything so very
"Simplicity and modesty are such charms in themselves, sir, as to be potent
allies," observed the sensible but taciturn Mary Wallace.
To this I assented, of course, and we all followed Mr. Mordaunt into
the house. I was as much delighted with the appearance of things in the
interior of Lilacsbush, as I had been with the exterior. Everywhere, it
seemed to me, I met with the signs of Anneke's taste and skill. I do not
wish the reader to suppose that the residence itself was of the very first
character and class, for this it could not lay claim to be. Still, it was
one of those staid, story-and-a-half dwellings, in which most of our
first families were, and are content to dwell, in the country; very much
resembling the good old habitation at Satanstoe in these particulars. The
furniture, however, was of a higher town-finish than we found it necessary
to use; and the little parlour in which we breakfasted was a model for an
eating-room. The buffets in the corners were so well polished that one
might see his face in them; the cellarets were ornamented with plated
hinges, locks, etc., and the table itself shone like a mirror. I know not
how it was, but the china appeared to me richer and neater than common
under Anneke's pretty little hand; while the massive and highly-finished
plate of the breakfast service, was such as could be wrought only in
England. In a word, while everything appeared rich and respectable, there
was a certain indescribable air of comfort, gentility, and neatness about
the whole, that impressed me in an unusual manner.
"Mr. Littlepage tells me, Anneke," observed Herman Mordaunt, while we were
at breakfast, "that he intends to make a journey to the north, next winter,
and it may be our good fortune to meet him there. The ----th expects to be
ordered up as high as Albany, this summer; and we may all renew our songs
and jests, with Bulstrode and his gay companions, among the Dutchmen."
I was charmed with this prospect of meeting Anneke Mordaunt at the north,
and took occasion to say as much; though I was afraid it was in an awkward
and confused manner.
"I heard as much as this, sir, while we were riding," answered the
daughter. "I hope cousin Dirck is to be of the party?"
Cousin Dirck assured her he was, and we discussed in anticipation the
pleasure it must give to old acquaintances to meet so far from home. Not
one of us, Herman Mordaunt excepted, had ever been one hundred miles from
his or her birth-place, as was ascertained on comparing notes. I was the
greatest traveller; Princeton lying between eighty and ninety miles from
Satanstoe, as the road goes.
"Perhaps I come nearer to it than any of you," put in Jason, "for my late
journey on the island must have carried me nearly that far from Danbury.
But, ladies, I can assure you, a traveller has many opportunities for
learning useful things, as I know by the difference there is between York
"And which do you prefer, Mr. Newcome?" asked Anneke, with a somewhat
comical expression about her laughing eyes.
"That is hardly a fair question, Miss;" no reproof could break Jason of
this vulgarism, "since it might make enemies for a body to speak all of his
mind in such matters. There are comparisons that should never be made, on
account of circumstances that overrule all common efforts. New York is
a great colony--a very great colony, Miss; but it was once Dutch, as
everybody knows, begging Mr. Follock's pardon; and it must be confessed
Connecticut has, from the first, enjoyed almost unheard-of advantages, in
the moral and religious character of her people, the excellence of her
lands, and the purity"--Jason called this word "poority;" but that did not
alter the sentiment--though I must say, once for all, it is out of my power
to spell every word as this man saw fit to pronounce it--"of her people and
Herman Mordaunt looked up with surprise, at this speech; but Dirck and
I had heard so many like it, that we saw nothing out of the way on this
particular occasion. As for the ladies, they were too well-bred to glance
at each other, as girls sometimes will; but I could see that each thought
the speaker a very singular person.
"You find, then, a difference in customs between the two colonies, sir?"
said Herman Mordaunt.
"A vast difference truly, sir. Now there was a little thing happened about
your daughter, 'Squire Mordaunt, the very first time I saw her"--the
present was the _second_ interview--"that could no more have happened
in Connecticut, than the whole of the province could be put into that
"To my daughter, Mr. Newcome!"
"Yes, sir, to your own daughter; Miss, that sits there looking as innocent
as if it had never come to pass."
"This is so extraordinary, sir, that I must beg an explanation."
"You may well call it extr'ornary, for extr'ornary it would be called all
over Connecticut; and I'll never give up that York, if this be a York
usage, is or can be right in such a matter, at least."
"I entreat you to be more explicit, Mr. Newcome."
"Why, sir, you must know, Corny, here, and I, and Dirck there, went in to
see the lion, about which no doubt you've heard so much, and Corny paid for
Miss's ticket Well, _that_ was all right enough, but----"
"Surely, Anneke, you have not forgotten to return to Mr. Littlepage the
"Listen patiently, my dear sir, and you will get the whole story, my
delinquencies and debts included, if any there are."
"That's just what she did, Squire Mordaunt, and I maintain there is not the
man in all Connecticut that would have taken it. If ladies can't be treated
to sights, and other amusements, I should like to know who is to be so."
Herman Mordaunt, at first, looked gravely at the speaker, but catching the
expression of our eyes he answered with the tact of a perfectly well-bred
man, as he certainly was, on all occasions that put him to the proof--
"You must overlook Miss Mordaunt's adhering to her own customs, Mr.
Newcome, on account of her youth, and her little knowledge of any world
but that immediately around her. When she has enjoyed an opportunity of
visiting Danbury, no doubt she will improve by the occasion."
"But, Corny, sir--think of Corny's falling into such a mistake!"
"As for Mr. Littlepage, I must suppose he labours under somewhat of the
same disadvantage. We are less gallant here than you happen to be in
Connecticut; hence our inferiority. At some future day, perhaps, when
society shall have made a greater progress among us, our youths will come
to see the impropriety of permitting the fair sex to pay for anything, even
their own ribands. I have long known, sir, that you of New England claim to
treat your women better than they are treated in any other portion of the
inhabited world, and it must be owing to that circumstance hat they enjoy
the advantage of being 'treated' for nothing."
With this concession Jason was apparently content. How much of this
provincial feeling, arising from provincial ignorance, have I seen since
that time! It is certain that our fellow-subjects of the eastern provinces
are not addicted to hiding their lights under bushels, but make the most
of all their advantages. That they are superior to us of York, in some
respects, I am willing enough to allow; but there are certainly points on
which this superiority is far less apparent. As for Jason, he was entirely
satisfied with the answer of Herman Mordaunt, and often alluded to the
subject afterwards, to my prejudice, and with great self-complacency. To
be sure, it is a hard lesson to beat into the head of the self-sufficient
colonist, that his own little corner of the earth does not contain all that
is right, and just, and good, and refined.
I left Lilacsbush, that day, deeply in love. I hold it to be unmanly to
attempt to conceal it. Anneke had made a lively impression on me from the
very first, but that impression had now gone deeper than the imagination,
and had very sensibly touched the heart. Perhaps it was necessary to see
her in the retirement of the purely domestic circle, to give all her charms
their just ascendency. While in town, I had usually met her in crowds,
surrounded by admirers or other young persons of her own sex, and there was
less opportunity for viewing the influence of nature and the affections on
her manner. With Mary Wallace at her side, however, there was always one
on whom she could exhibit just enough of these feelings to bring out the
loveliness of her nature without effort or affectation. Anne Mordaunt never
spoke to her friend without a change appearing in her manner. Affection
thrilled in the tones of her voice, confidence beamed in her eye, and
esteem and respect were to be gathered from the expectation and deference
that shone in her countenance. Mary Wallace was two years the oldest, and
these years taken in connection with her character, entitled her to receive
this tribute from her nearest associate; but all these feelings flowed
spontaneously from the heart, for never was an intercourse between two of
the sex more thoroughly free from acting.
It was a proof that passion was getting the mastery over me, that I now
forgot Dirck, his obvious attachment, older claims, and possible success. I
know not how it was, or why it was, but it was certain that Herman Mordaunt
had a great regard for Dirck Van Valkenburgh. The affinity may have counted
for something, and it was possible that the father was already weighing the
advantages that might accrue from such a connection. Col. Follock had the
reputation of being rich, as riches were then counted among us; and the
young fellow himself, in addition to a fine manly figure, that was fast
developing itself into the frame of a youthful Hercules, had an excellent
temper, and a good reputation. Still, this idea never troubled me. Of Dirck
I had no fears, while Bulstrode gave me great uneasiness, from the first.
I saw all his advantages, may have even magnified them; while those of my
near and immediate friend, gave me no trouble whatever. It is possible, had
Dirck presented himself oftener, or more distinctly to my mind, a feeling
of magnanimity might have induced me to withdraw in time, and leave him
a field to which he had the earliest claim. But, after the morning at
Lilacsbush, it was too late for any such sacrifice on my part; and I rode
away from the house, at the side of my friend, as forgetful of his interest
in Anneke, as if he had never felt any. Magnanimity and I had no further
connection in relation to my pretensions to Anneke Mordaunt.
"Well," commenced Jason, as soon as we were fairly in the saddle, "these
Mordaunts are even a notch above your folks, Corny? There was more silver
vessels in that room where we ate, than there is at this moment in all
Danbury! The extravagance amounts to waste. The old gentleman must be
desperate rich, Dirck?"
"Herman Mordaunt has a good estate, and very little of it has gone for
plate, Jason; that which you saw is old, and came either from Holland, or
England; one home, or the other."
"Oh! Holland is no home for me, boy. Depend on it, all that plate is not
put there for nothing. If the truth could be come at, this Herman Mordaunt,
as you call him, though I do not see why you cannot call him _'Squire_
Mordaunt, like other folks, but this Mr. Mordaunt has some notion, I
conclude, to get his daughter off on one of these rich English officers, of
whom there happen to be so many in the province, just at this time. I never
saw the gentleman, but there was one Bulstrode named pretty often this
forenoon,"--Jason's morning always terminated at his usual breakfast
hour,--"and I rather conclude he will turn out to be the chap, in the long
run. Such is my calculation, and _they_ don't often fail."
I saw a quick, surprised start in Dirck; but I felt such a twinge myself,
that there was little opportunity to inquires into the state of my friend's
feelings, at this coarse, but unexpected remark.
"Have you any particular reason, Mr. Newcome, for; venturing such an
opinion?" I asked, a little sternly.
"Come, don't let us, out here in the highway, begin to mister one another.
You are Corny, Dirck is Dirck, and I am Jason. The shortest way is commonly
the best way, and I like given-names among friends. Have I any particular
reason?--Yes; plenty on 'em, and them that's good. In the first place, no
man has a daughter,"--darter a la Jason,--"that he does not begin to think
of setting her out in the world, accordin' to his abilities; then, as
I said before, these folks from home" (hum) "are awful rich, and rich
husbands are always satisfactory to parents, whatever they may be to
children. Besides, some of these officers will fall heirs to titles, and
that is a desperate temptation to a woman, all over the world. I hardly
think there is a young woman in Danbury that could hold out agin' a real
It has always struck me as singular, that the people of Jason's part of the
provinces should entertain so much profound respect for titles. No portion
of the world is of simpler habits, nor is it easier to find any civilized
people among whom there is greater equality of actual condition, which,
one would think, must necessarily induce equality of feeling, than in
Connecticut, at this very moment. Notwithstanding these facts, the love of
title is so great, that even that of serjeant is often prefixed to the name
of a man on his tombstone, or in the announcement of his death or marriage;
and as for the militia ensigns and lieutenants, there is no end to them.
Deacon is an important title, which is rarely omitted; and wo betide the
man who should forget to call a magistrate "esquire." No such usages
prevail among us; or, if they do, it is among that portion of the people of
this colony which is derived from New England, and still retains some of
its customs. Then, in no part of the colonies is English rank more deferred
to, than in New England, generally, notwithstanding most of those colonies
possess the right to elect nearly every officer they have among them. I
allow that we of New York defer greatly to men of birth and rank from home,
and it is right we should so do; but I do not think our deference is as
great, or by any means as general, as it is in New England. It is possible
the influence of the Dutch may have left an impression on our state of
society, though I have been told that the colonies farther south exhibit
very much the same characteristics as we do, ourselves, on this head. 
We reached Satanstoe a little late, in consequence of the delay at
Lilacsbush, and were welcomed with affection and warmth. My excellent
mother was delighted to see me at home again, after so long an absence,
and one which she did not think altogether without peril, when it was
remembered that I had passed a whole fortnight amid the temptations and
fascinations of the capital. I saw the tears in her eyes as she kissed me,
again and again, and felt the gentle, warm embrace, as she pressed me to
her bosom, in maternal thanksgiving.
Of course, I had to render an account of all I had seen and done, including
Pinkster, the theatre, and the lion. I said nothing, however, of the
Mordaunts, until questioned about them by my mother, quite a fortnight
after Dirck had gone across to Rockland. One morning, as I sat endeavouring
to write a sonnet in my own room, that excellent parent entered and took
a seat near my table, with the familiarity the relation she bore me
justified. She was knitting at the time, for never was she idle, except
when asleep. I saw by the placid smile on her face, which, Heaven bless
her! was still smooth and handsome, that something was on her mind, that
was far from disagreeable; and I waited with some curiosity for the
opening. That excellent mother! How completely did she live out of herself
in all that had the most remote bearing on my future hopes and happiness!
"Finish your writing, my son," commenced my mother, for I had instinctively
striven to conceal the sonnet; "finish your writing; until you have done, I
will be silent."
"I have done, now, mother; 'twas only a copy of verses I was endeavouring
to write out--you know--that is--write out, you know."
"I did not know you were a poet, Corny," returned my mother, smiling still
more complacently, for it _is_ something to be the parent of a poet.
"I!--I a poet, mother?--I'd sooner turn school-master, than turn poet.
Yes, I'd sooner be Jason Newcome, himself, than even suspect it possible I
_could_ be a poet."
"Well, never mind; people never turn poets, I fancy, with their eyes open.
But, what is this I hear of your having saved a beautiful young lady from
the jaws of a lion, while you were in town; and why was I left to learn all
the particulars from Mr. Newcome?"
I believe my face was of the colour of scarlet, for it felt as if it were
on fire, and my mother smiled still more decidedly than ever. Speak! I
could not have spoken to be thus smiled on by Anneke.
"There is nothing to be ashamed of, Corny, in rescuing a young lady from a
lion, or in going to her father's to receive the thanks of the family. The
Mordaunts are a family any one can visit with pleasure. Was the battle
between you and the beast, a very desperate conflict, my child?"
"Poh! mother:--Jason is a regular dealer in marvels, and he makes mountains
of mole-hills. In the first place, for 'jaws,' you must substitute 'paws,'
and for a 'young lady,' 'her shawl.'"
"Yes, I understand it was the shawl, but it was on her shoulders, and could
not have been disengaged time enough to save her, had you not shown so much
presence of mind and courage. As for the 'jaws,' I believe that was my
mistake, for Mr. Newcome certainly said 'claws.'"
"Well, mother, have it your own way. I was of a little service to a very
charming young woman, and she and her father were civil to me, as a matter
of course. Herman Mordaunt is a name we all know, and, as you say, his is a
family that any man may be proud of visiting, ay, and pleased too."
"How odd it is, Corny," added my mother, in a sort of musing, soliloquizing
way,--"you are an only child, and Anneke Mordaunt is also an only child, as
Dirck Follock has often told me."
"Then Dirck has spoken to you frequently of Anneke, before this, mother?"
"Time and again; they are relations, you must have heard; as, indeed, you
are yourself, if you did but know it."
"I?--I related to Anneke Mordaunt, without being too _near_?"
My dear mother smiled again, while I felt sadly ashamed of myself at the
next instant. I believe that a suspicion of the truth, as respects my
infant passion, existed in that dear parent's mind from that moment.
"Certainly related, Corny, and I will tell you how. My
great-great-grandmother, Alida van der Heyden, was a first cousin of Herman
Mordaunt's great-great-grandmother, by his mother's side, who was a Van
Kleeck. So, you see, you and Anneke are actually related."
"Just near enough, mother, to put one at ease in their house, and not so
near as to make relationship troublesome."
"They tell me, my child, that Anneke is a sweet creature!"
"If beauty, and modesty, and grace, and gentleness, and spirit, and sense,
and delicacy, and virtue, and piety, can make any young woman of seventeen
a sweet creature, mother, then Anneke is sweet."
My dear mother seemed surprised at my warmth, but she smiled still more
complacently than ever. Instead of pursuing the subject, however, she saw
fit to change it, by speaking of the prospects of the season, and the many
reasons we all had for thankfulness to God. I presume, with a woman's
instinct, she had learned enough to satisfy her mind for the present.
The summer soon succeeded to the May that proved so momentous to me; and I
sought occupation in the fields. Occupation, however, would not do. Anneke
was with me, go where I would; and glad was I when Dirck, about midsummer,
in one of his periodical visits to Satanstoe, proposed that we should ride
over, and make another visit to Lilacsbush. He had written a note, to say
we should be glad to ask a dinner and beds, if it were convenient, for a
day a short distance ahead; and he waited the answer at the Neck. This
answer arrived duly by mail, and was everything we could wish. Herman
Mordaunt offered us a hearty welcome, and sent the grateful intelligence
that his daughter and Mary Wallace would both be present to receive us. I
envied Dirck the manly feeling which had induced him to take this plain and
respectable course to his object.
We went across the country, accordingly, and reached Lilacsbush several
hours before dinner. Anneke received us with a bright suffusion of the
face, and kind smiles; though I could not detect the slightest difference
in her manners to either. To both was she gracious, gentle, attentive, and
lady-like. No allusion was made to the past, except a few remarks that were
given on the subject of the theatre. The officers had continued to play
until the ----th had been ordered up the river, when Bulstrode, Billings,
Harris, virtuous Marcia, and all, had proceeded to Albany in company.
Anneke thought there was about as much to be displeased with, as there was
to please, in these representations; though her removal to the country
had prevented her seeing more than three of them all. It was admitted all
round, however, that Bulstrode played admirably; and it was even regretted
by certain persons, that he should not have been devoted to the stage.
We passed the night at Lilacsbush, and remained an hour or two after
breakfast, next morning. I had carried a warm invitation from both my
parents to Herman Mordaunt, to ride over, with the young ladies, and taste
the fish of the Sound; and the visit was returned in the course of the
month of September. My mother received Anneke as a relation; though I
believe that both Herman Mordaunt and his daughter were surprised to learn
that they came within even the wide embrace of Dutch kindred. They did not
seem displeased, however, for the family name of my mother was good, and no
one need have been ashamed of affinity to _her_, on her own account. Our
guests did not remain the night, but they left us in a sort of a chaise
that Herman Mordaunt kept for country use, about an hour before sunset. I
mounted my horse, and rode five miles with the party, on its way back,
and then took my leave of Anneke, as it turned out, for many, many weary
The year 1757 was memorable in the colonies, by the progress of the war,
and as much so in New York as in any other province. Montcalm had advanced
to the head of Lake George, had taken Fort William Henry, and a fearful
massacre of the garrison had succeeded. This bold operation left the
enemy in possession of Champlain; and the strong post of Ticonderoga was
adequately garrisoned by a formidable force. A general gloom was cast over
the political affairs of the colony; and it was understood that a great
effort was to be made, the succeeding campaign, to repair the loss. Rumour
spoke of large reinforcements from home, and of greater levies in the
colonies themselves than had been hitherto attempted. Lord Loudon was to
return home, and a veteran of the name of Abercrombie was to succeed him in
the command of all the forces of the king. Regiments began to arrive from
the West Indies; and, in the course of the winter of 1757-8, we heard at
Satanstoe of the gaieties that these new forces had introduced into the
town. Among other things, a regular corps of Thespians had arrived from the
[Footnote 16: As respects the love of titles that are derived from the
people, there is nothing-opposed to strict republican, or if the reader
will, democratic, principles, since it is deferring to the power that
appoints, and manifests a respect for that which the community chooses to
elevate. But, the deference to _English_ rank, mentioned by Mr. Littlepage,
is undeniably greater among the mass in New England, than it is anywhere
else in this country, at this very moment. One leading New York paper,
edited by New England men, during the last controversy about the indemnity
to be paid by France, actually styled the Due de Broglie "his grace,"
like a Grub Street cockney,--a mode of address that would astonish that
respectable statesman, quite as much as it must have amused every man
of the world who saw it. I have been much puzzled to account for this
peculiarity--unquestionably one that exists in the country--but have
supposed it must be owing to the diffusion of information which carries
intelligence sufficiently far to acquaint the mass with leading social
features, without going far enough to compensate for a provincial position
and provincial habits. Perhaps the exclusively English origin of the people
may have an influence. The writer has passed portions of two seasons in
Switzerland, and, excluding the small forest cantons, he has no hesitation
in saying that the habits and general notions of Connecticut are
more inherently democratical than those of any part of that country.
Notwithstanding, he thinks a nobleman, particularly an English nobleman, is
a far greater man in New England, than he is among the real middle-state
families of New York.--EDITOR.]
"Dear Hasty-Pudding, what unpromised joy
Expands my heart to meet thee in Savoy!
Doom'd o'er the world through devious paths to roam,
Each clime my country, and each house my home,
My soul is sooth'd, my cares have found an end:
I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend."
The winter was soon drawing to a close, and my twenty-first birth-day was
past. My father and Col. Follock, who came over to smoke more than usual
that winter with my father, began to talk of the journey Dirck and I were
to take, in quest of the Patent. Maps were procured, calculations were
made, and different modes of proceeding were proposed, by the various
members of the family. I will acknowledge that the sight of the large,
coarse, parchment map of the Mooseridge Patent, as the new acquisition was
called, from the circumstance of the surveyors having shot a moose on a
particular ridge of land in its centre, excited certain feelings of avarice
within my mind. There were streams meandering among hills and valleys;
little lakes, or ponds, as they were erroneously called in the language of
the country, dotted the surface; and there were all the artistical proofs
of a valuable estate that a good map-maker could devise, to render the
whole pleasing and promising. 
If it were a good thing to be the heir of Satanstoe, it was far better to
be the tenant in common, with my friend Dirck, of all these ample plains,
rich bottoms, flowing streams and picturesque lakes. In a word, for the
first time, in the history of the colonies, the Littlepages had become
the owners of what might be termed an estate. According to our New York
parlance, six or eight hundred acres are not an estate; nor two or three
thousand, scarcely, but ten, or twenty, and much more, forty thousand acres
of land might be dignified with the name of an estate!
The first knotty point discussed, was to settle the manner in which Dirck
and myself should reach Mooseridge. Two modes of going as far as Albany
offered, and on one of these it was our first concern to decide. We might
wait until the river opened, and go as far as Albany in a sloop, of which
one or two left town each week when business was active, as it was certain
to be in the spring of the year, It was thought, however, that the army
would require mos' of the means of transportation of this nature that
offered; and it might put us to both inconvenience and delay, to wait on
the tardy movements of quarter-masters and contractors. My grandfather
shook his head when the thing was named, and advised us to remain as
independent as possible.
"Have as little as possible to do with such people, Corny," put in my
grandfather, now a grey-headed, venerable-looking old gentleman, who did
not wear his wig half the time, but was content to appear in a pointed
night-cap and gown at all hours, until just before dinner was announced,
when he invariably came forth dressed as a gentleman--"Have as little as
possible to do with these gentry, Corny. Money, and not honour, is their
game; and you will be treated like a barrel of beef, or a bag of potatoes,
if you fall into their hands. If you move with the army at all, keep among
the real soldiers, my boy, and, above all things, avoid the contractors."
It was consequently determined that there was too much uncertainty and
delay in waiting for a passage to Albany by water; for it was known that
the voyage itself often lasted ten days, or a fortnight, and it would be so
late before we could sail, as to render this delay very inconvenient. The
other mode of journeying, was to go before the snow had melted from the
roads, by the aid of which, it was quite possible to make the distance
between Satanstoe and Albany in three days.
Certain considerations of economy next offered, and we settled down on the
following plan; which, as it strikes me, is, even now, worthy of being
mentioned on account of its prudence and judgment. It was well known that
there would be a great demand for horses for the army, as well as for
stores, provisions, &c., of various sorts. Now, we had on the Neck several
stout horses, that were falling into years, though still serviceable and
good for a campaign. Col. Follock had others of the same description, and
when the cavalry of the two farms were all assembled at Satanstoe, there
were found to be no fewer than fourteen of the venerable animals. These
made just three four-horse teams, besides leaving a pair for a lighter
load. Old, stout lumber sleighs were bought, or found, and repaired; and
Jaap, having two other blacks with him, was sent off at the head of what my
father called a brigade of lumber sleighs, all of which were loaded with
the spare pork and flour of the two families. The war had rendered these
articles quite high; but the hogs that were slaughtered at Christmas had
not yet been sold; and it was decided that Dirck and myself could not
commence our career as men who had to buy and sell from the respective
farms, in any manner more likely to be useful to us and to our parents,
than this. As Yaap's movements were necessarily slow, he was permitted to
precede Dirck and myself by two entire days, giving him time to clear the
Highlands before we left Satanstoe. The negroes carried the provender for
their horses, and no small portion of the food, and all of the cider that
was necessary for their own consumption. No one was ashamed of economising
with his slaves in this manner; the law of slavery itself existing
principally as a money-making institution. I mention these little matters,
that posterity may understand the conventional feeling of the colony, on
When everything was ready, we had to listen to much good advice from our
friends, previously to launching ourselves into the world. What Col.
Follock said to Dirck, the latter never told me; but the following was
pretty much the form and substance of that which I received from my own
father--the interview taking place in a little room he called his "office;"
or "study," as Jason used to term it.
"Here, Corny, are all the bills, or invoices, properly made out," my father
commenced, handing me a small sheaf of papers; "and you will do well to
consult them before you make any sales. Here are letters of introduction
to several gentlemen in the army, whose acquaintance I could wish you to
cultivate. This, in particular, is to my old captain, Charles Merrewether,
who is now a Lt. Col., and commands a battalion in the Royal Americans. You
will find him of great service to you while you remain with the army, I
make no doubt. Pork, they tell me, if of the quality of that you will have,
ought to bring three half joes, the barrel--and you might ask that
much. Should accident procure you an invitation to the table of the
Commander-In-Chief, as may happen through Col. Merrewether's friendship I
trust you will do full credit to the loyalty of the Littlepages Ah! there's
the flour, too; it ought to be worth two half joes the barrel, in times
like these. I have thrown in a letter or two to some of the Schuylers, with
whom I served when of your age. They are first-rate people, remember, and
rank among the highest families of the colonies; full of good old Van
Cortlandt blood, and well crossed with the Rensselaers. Should any of them
ask you about the barrel of tongues, that you will find marked T--"
"Any of whom, sir; the Schuylers, the Cortlandts, or the Rensselaers?"
"Poh! any of the sutlers, or contractors, I mean, of course. You can tell
them that they were cured at home, and that you dare recommend them as fit
for the Commander-In-Chief's own table."
Such was the character of my father's parting instructions. My mother held
a different discourse.
"Corny, my beloved child," she said; "this will be an all-important journey
to you. Not only are you going far from home, but you are going to a part
of the country where much will be to be seen. I hope you will remember what
was promised for you, by your sponsors in baptism, and also what is owing
to your own good name, and that of your family. The letters you take with
you, will probably introduce you to good company, and that is a great
beginning to a youth. I wish you to cultivate the society of reputable
females, Corny. My sex has great influence on the conduct of yours, at your
time of life, and both your manners and principles will be aided by being
as much with women of character as possible."
"But, mother, if we are to go any distance with the army, as both my father
and Col. Follock wish, it will not be in our power to be much in ladies'
"I speak of the time you will pass in and near Albany. I do not expect you
will find accomplished women at Mooseridge, nor, should you really go any
distance with the troops, though I see no occasion for your going with them
a single foot, since you are not a soldier, do I suppose you will find
many reputable women in the camp; but, avail yourself of every favourable
opportunity to go into good company. I have procured a letter for you, from
a lady of one of the great families of this county, to Madam Schuyler, who
is above all other women, they tell me, in and around Albany. Her you
must see, and I charge you, on your duty, to deliver this letter. It is
possible, too, that Herman Mordaunt----"
"What of Herman Mordaunt and Anneke, mother?"
"I spoke only of Herman Mordaunt himself, and did not mention Anneke, boy,"
answered my mother, smiling "though I doubt not that the daughter is with
the father. They left town for Albany, two months since, my sister Legge
writes me, and intend to pass the summer north. I will not deceive you,
Corny, so you shall hear all that your aunt has written on the subject.
In the first place, she says Herman Mordaunt has gone on public service,
having an especial appointment for some particular duty of importance, that
is private, but which it is known will detain him near Albany, and among
the northern posts, until the close of the season, though he gives out to
the world, he is absent on account of some land he has in Albany county.
His daughter and Mary Wallace are with him, with several servants, and they
have taken up with them a sleigh-load of conveniences; that looks like
remaining. Now, you ought to hear the rest, my child, though I feel no
apprehension when such a youth as yourself is put in competition with any
other man in the colony. Yes, though your own mother, I think I may say
"What is it, mother?--never mind me; I shall do well enough, depend on
it--that is--but what is it, dear mother?"
"Why, your aunt says, it is whispered among a few in town, a very few only,
but whispered, that Herman Mordaunt got the appointment named, merely
that he might have a pretence for taking Anneke near the ----th, in which
regiment it seems there is a baronet's son, who is a sort of relative of
his, and whom he wishes to marry to Anneke."
"I am sorry, then, that my aunt Legge listens to any such unworthy gossip!"
I indignantly cried. "My life on it, Anneke Mordaunt never contemplated so
indelicate a thing!"
"No one supposes Anneke does, or did. But fathers are not daughters, Corny;
no, nor mothers neither, as I can freely say, seeing you are my only child.
Herman Mordaunt may imagine all this in _his_ heart, and Anneke be every
thing that is innocent and delicate."
"And how can my aunt Legge's informants know what is in Herman Mordaunt's
"How?--I suppose they judge by what they find in their own, my son; a
common means of coming at a neighbour's failings, though I believe virtues
are rarely detected by the same process."
"Ay, and judge of others by themselves. The means may be common, mother,
but they are not infallible."
"Certainly not, Corny, and that will be a ground of hope to you. Remember,
my child, you can bring me no daughter I shall love half as well as I
feel I can love Anneke Mordaunt. We are related too, her father's
"Never mind the great-great-grandmother, my dear, good, excellent, parent.
After this I shall not attempt to have any secret from you. Unless Anneke
Mordaunt consent to be your daughter, you will never have one."
"Do not say that, Corny, I beseech you," cried my mother, a good deal
frightened. "Remember there is no accounting for tastes; the army is a
formidable rival, and, after all, this Mr. Bulstrode, I think you call him,
may prove as acceptable to Anneke as to her father. Do not say so cruel a
thing, I entreat of you, dearest, dearest, Corny."
"It is not a minute, mother, since you said how little you apprehended for
me, when opposed by any other man in the province!"
"Yes, child, but that is a very different thing from seeing you pass all
your days as a heartless, comfortless old bachelor. There are fifty young
women in this very county, I could wish to see you united to, in preference
to witnessing such a calamity."
"Well, mother, we will say no more about it. But is it true that Mr. Worden
actually intends to be of our party?"
"Both Mr. Worden and Mr. Newcome, I believe. We shall scarcely know how to
spare the first, but he conceives he has a call to accompany the army, in
which there are so few chaplains; and souls are called to their last dread
account so suddenly in war, that one does not know how to refuse to let him
My poor, confiding mother! When I look back at the past, and remember the
manner in which the Rev. Mr. Worden discharged the duties of his sacred
office during the campaign that succeeded, I cannot but smile at the manner
in which confidence manifests itself in woman. The sex has a natural
disposition to place their trusts in priests, by a very simple process of
transferring their own dispositions to the bosoms of those they believe set
apart for purely holy objects. Well, we live and learn. I dare say that
many are what they profess to be, but I have lived long enough now to know
_all_ are not. As for Mr. Worden, he had one good point about him, at
any rate. His friends and his enemies saw the worst of him. He was no
hypocrite, but his associates saw the man very much as he was. Still, I am
far from wishing to hold up this imported minister as a model of Christian
graces for my descendants to admire. No one can be more convinced than
myself how much sectarians are prone to substitute their own narrow notions
of right and wrong for the Law of God, confounding acts that are perfectly
innocent in themselves with sin; but, at the same time, I am quite aware
too, that appearances are ever to be consulted in cases of morals, and
that it is a minor virtue to be decent in matters of manners. The Rev. Mr.
Worden, whatever might have been his position as to substantial, certainly
carried the external of liberality to the verge of indiscretion.
A day or two after the conversation I have related, our party left
Satanstoe, with some _eclat_. The team belonged equally to the Follocks and
the Littlepages, one horse being the property of my father, while the
other belonged to Col. Follock. The sleigh, an old one new painted for the
occasion, was the sole property of the latter gentleman, and was consigned,
in mercantile phrase, to Dirck, in order to be disposed of as soon as we
should reach the end of our journey. On its exterior it was painted a
bright sky-blue, while its interior was of vermilion, a colour that was and
is much in vogue for this species of vehicle, inasmuch as it carries with
it the idea of warmth; so, at least, the old people say, though I will
confess I never found my toes any less cold in a sleigh thus painted, than
in one painted blue, which is usually thought a particularly cold colour to
We had three buffalo-skins, or, rather, two buffalo (bison) skins and one
bear-skin. The last, being trimmed with scarlet cloth, had a particularly
warm and comfortable appearance. The largest skin was placed on the
hind-seat, and thrown over the back of the sleigh, as a matter of course;
and, though this back was high enough to break off the wind from our heads
and necks, the skin not only covered it, but it hung two or three feet
down behind, as is becoming in a gentleman's sleigh. The other buffalo was
spread in the bottom of the sleigh, as a carpet for all four, leaving an
apron to come in front upon Dirck's and my lap, as a protection against the
cold in that quarter. The bear-skin formed a cushion for us in front, and
an apron for Mr. Worden and Jason, who sat behind. Our trunks had gone on
the lumber sleighs, that is, mine and Dirck's had thus been sent, while our
two companions found room for theirs in the conveyance in which we went
It was March 1st, 1758, the morning we left Satanstoe, on this memorable
excursion. The winter had proved as was common in our latitude, though
there had been more snow along the coast than was usual. Salt air and snow
do not agree well together; but I had driven in a sleigh over the Neck,
most of the month of February, though there were symptoms of a thaw, and
of a southerly wind, the day we left home. My father observed this, and he
advised me to take the road through the centre of the county, and get among
the hills, as soon as possible. Not only was there always more snow in that
part of the country, but it resisted the influence of a thaw much longer
than that which had fallen near the sea or Sound. I got my mother's last
kiss, my father's last shake of the hand, my grandfather's blessing,
stepped into the sleigh, took the reins from Dirck, and drove off.
A party in a sleigh must be composed of a very sombre sort of persons, if
it be not a merry one. In our case, everybody was disposed to good-humour;
though Jason could not pass along the highway, in York Colony, without
giving vent to his provincial, Connecticut hypercriticism. Everything was
Dutch, according to his view of matters; and when it failed of being Dutch,
why, it was York-Colony. The doors were not in the right places; the
windows were too large, when they were not too small; things had a
cabbage-look; the people smelt of tobacco; and hasty-pudding was called
"suppaan." But these were trifles; and being used to them, nobody paid much
attention to what our puritanical neighbour saw fit to pour out, in the
humility and meekness of his soul. Mr. Worden chuckled, and urged Jason on,
in the hope of irritating Dirck; but Dirck smoked through it all, with an
indifference that proved how much he really despised the critic. I was the
only one who resented this supercilious ignorance; but even I was often
more disposed to laugh than to be angry.
The signs of a thaw increased, as we got a few miles from home; and by the
time we reached White Plains, the "south wind" did not blow "softly," but
freshly, and the snow in the road became sloppy, and rills of water were
seen running down the hill-sides, in a way that menaced destruction to the
sleighing. On we drove, however, and deeper and deeper we got among the
hills, until we found not only more snow, but fewer symptoms of immediately
losing it. Our first day's work carried us well into the manor of the Van
Cortlandts, where we passed the night. Next morning the south wind was
still blowing, sweeping over the fields of snow, charged with the salt
air of the ocean; and bare spots began to show themselves on all the
acclivities and hill-sides--an admonition for us to be stirring. We
breakfasted in the Highlands, and in a wild and retired part of them,
though in a part where snow and beaten roads were still to be found. We had
escaped from the thaw, and no longer felt any uneasiness on the subject of
reaching the end of our journey on runners.
The second day brought us fairly through the mountains, out on the plains
of Dutchess, permitting us to sup at Fishkill. This was a thriving
settlement, the people appearing to me to live in abundance, as certainly
they did in peace and quiet. They made little of the war, and asked us many
questions concerning the army, its commanders, its force and its objects.
They were a simple, and judging from appearances, an honest people, who
troubled themselves very little with what was going on in the world.
After quitting Fishkill we found a great change, not only in the country,
but in the weather. The first was level, as a whole, and was much better
settled than I could have believed possible so far in the interior. As for
the weather, it was quite a different climate from that we had left below
the highlands. Not only was the morning cold, cold as it had been a month
earlier with us, but the snow still lay two or three feet in depth on a
level, and the sleighing was as good as heart could wish.
That afternoon we overtook Yaap and the brigade of lumber-sleighs.
Everything had gone right, and after giving the fellow some fresh
instructions, I passed him, proceeding on our route. This parting did not
take place, however, until the following had been uttered between us:
"Well, Yaap," I inquired, as a sort of close to the previous discourse,
"how do you like the upper counties?"
A loud negro laugh succeeded, and a repetition of the question was
necessary to extort an answer.
"Lor', Masser Corny, how you t'ink I know, when dere not'in but snow to be
"There was plenty of snow in Westchester; yet, I dare say you could give
some opinion of our own county!"
"'Cause I know him, sah; inside and out, and all over Masser Corny."
"Well; but you can see the houses, and orchards, and barns, and fences, and
other things of that sort."
"'Em pretty much like our'n, Masser Corny; why you bother nigger with sich
Here another burst of loud, hearty "yah--yah--yahs succeeded; and Yaap had
his laugh out before another word could be got out of him, when I put the
question a third time.
"Well, den, Masser Corny, sin' you _will_ know, dis is my mind. Dis country
is oncomparable wid our ole county sah. De houses seem mean, de barns look
empty, de fencea be low, and de niggers, ebbery one of 'em, look cold,
sah--yes, sah--'ey look berry cold!"
As a "cold negro" was a most pitiable object in negro eyes, I saw by this
summary that Yaap had commenced his travels in much of the same temper of
superciliousness as Jason Newcome. It struck me as odd at the time; but,
since that day, I have ascertained that this feeling is a very general
travelling companion for those who set out on their first journey.
We passed our third night at a small hamlet called Rhinebeck, in a
settlement in which many German names were to be found. Here we were
travelling through the vast estates of the Livingstons, a name well-known
in our colonial history. We breakfasted at Claverack, and passed through
a place called Kinderhook--a village of Low Dutch origin, and of some
antiquity. That night we succeeded in coming near Albany, by making a very
hard day's drive of it. There was no village at the place where we slept;
but the house was a comfortable, and exceedingly neat Dutch tavern. After
quitting Fishkill we had seen more or less of the river, until we passed
Claverack, where we took our leave of it. It was covered with ice, and
sleighs were moving about it, with great apparent security; but we did not
like to try it. Our whole party preferred a solid highway, in which there
was no danger of the bottom's dropping out.
As we were now about to enter Albany, the second largest town in the colony
and one of the largest inland towns of the whole country, if such a word
can properly be given to a place that lies on a navigable river, it
was thought necessary to make some few arrangements, in order to do it
decently. Instead of quitting the tavern at daylight, therefore, as had
been our practice previously, we remained until after breakfast, having
recourse to our trunks in the mean time. Dirck, Jason and myself, had
provided ourselves with fur caps for the journey, with ear-laps and other
contrivances for keeping oneself warm. The cap of Dirck, and my own, were
of very fine martens' skins, and as they were round and high, and each was
surmounted with a handsome tail, that fell down behind, they had both a
smart and military air. I thought I had never seen Dirck look so nobly and
well, as he did in his cap, and I got a few compliments on my own air in
mine, though they were only from my mother, who, I do think, would feel
disposed to praise me, even if I looked wretchedly. The cap of Jason was
better suited to his purse, being lower, and of fox-skins, though it had a
tail also. Mr. Worden had declined travelling in a cap, as unsuited to his
holy office. Accordingly he wore his clerical beaver, which differed a
little from the ordinary cocked-hats, that we all wore as a matter of
course, though not so much so as to be very striking.
All of us had overcoats well trimmed with furs, mine and Dirck's being
really handsome, with trimmings of marten, while those of our companion
were less showy and expensive. On a consultation, Dirck and I decided that
it was better taste to enter the town in traveller's dresses, than to enter
it in any other, and we merely smartened up a little, in order to appear as
gentlemen. The case was very different with Jason. According to his idea a
man should wear his best clothes on a journey, and I was surprised to see
him appear at breakfast, in black breeches, striped woollen stockings,
large plated buckles in his shoes, and a coat that I well knew he
religiously reserved for high-days and holidays. This coat was of a light
pea-green colour, and but little adapted to the season; but Jason had not
much notion of the fitness of things, in general, in matters of taste.
Dirck and myself wore our ordinary snuff-coloured coats, under our furs;
but Jason threw aside all the overcoats, when we came near Albany, in order
to enter the place in his best. Fortunately for him, the day was mild,
and there was a bright sun to send its warm rays through the pea-green
covering, to keep his blood from chilling. As for Mr. Worden, he wore a
cloak of black cloth, laying aside all the furs, but a tippet and muff,
both of which he used habitually in cold weather.
In this guise, then, we left the tavern, about nine in the morning,
expecting to reach the banks of the river about ten. Nor were we
disappointed; the roads being excellent, a light fall of snow having
occurred in the night, to freshen the track. It was an interesting moment
to us all, when the spires and roofs of that ancient town, Albany, first
appeared in view! We had journeyed from near the southern boundary of
the colony, to a place that stood at no great distance from its frontier
settlements on the north. The town itself formed a pleasing object, as we
approached it, on the opposite side of the Hudson. There it lay, stretching
along the low land on the margin of the stream, and on its western bank,
sheltered by high hills, up the side of which, the principal street
extended, for the distance of fully a quarter of a mile. Near the head of
this street stood the fort, and we saw a brigade paraded in the open ground
near it, wheeling and marching about. The spires of two churches were
visible, one, the oldest, being seated on the low land, in the heart of the
place, and the other on the height at no great distance from the fort;
or about half-way up the acclivity, which forms the barrier to the inner
country, on that side of the river. Both these buildings were of stone, of
course, shingle tenements being of very rare occurrence in the colony of
New York, though common enough further east. 
I will own that not one of our party liked the idea of crossing the Hudson,
in a loaded sleigh, on the ice, and that in the month of March. There were
no streams about us to be crossed in this mode, nor was the cold exactly
sufficient to render such a transit safe, and we felt as the inexperienced
would be apt to feel in circumstances so unpleasant. I must do Jason the
credit to admit that he showed more plain, practical, good sense than any
of us, determining our course in the end by his view of the matter. As for
Mr. Worden, however, nothing could induce him to venture on the ice in a
sleigh, or _near_ a sleigh, though Jason remonstrated in the following
"Now, look here, Rev. Mr. Worden"--Jason seldom omitted anybody's
_title_--"you've only to turn your eyes on the river to see it is dotted
with sleighs, far and near. There are highways north and south, and if
that be the place, where the crossing is at the town, it is more like a
thoroughfare than a spot that is risky. In my judgment, these people who
live hereabouts ought to know whether there is any danger or not."
Obvious as was this truth, 'Rev. Mr. Worden' made us stop on terra firma,
and permit him to quit the sleigh, that he might cross the river on foot.
Jason ventured a hint or two about faith and its virtues, as he stripped
himself to the pea-green, in order to enter the town in proper guise,
throwing aside everything that concealed his finery. As for Dirck and
myself, we kept our seats manfully, and trotted on the river at the point
where we saw sleighs and foot-passengers going and coming in some numbers.
The Rev. Mr. Worden, however, was not content to take the beaten path,
for he knew there was no more security in being out on the ice, _near_ a
sleigh, than there was in being _in_ it, so he diverged from the road,
which crossed at the ferry, striking diagonally atwhart the river towards
the wharves of the place.
It seemed to me to be a sort of a holiday among the young and idle, one
sleigh passing us after another, filled with young men and maidens, all
sparkling with the excitement of the moment, and gay with youth and
spirits. We passed no less than four of these sleighs on the river, the
jingling of the bells, the quick movement, the laughter and gaiety, and the
animation of the whole scene, far exceeding anything of the sort I had
ever before witnessed. We were nearly across the river, when a sleigh more
handsomely equipped than any we had yet seen, dashed down the bank, and
came whirling past us like a comet. It was full of ladies, with the
exception of one gentleman, who stood erect in front, driving. I recognised
Bulstrode, in furs like all of us, capped and _tailed_, if not plumed,
while among the half-dozen pairs of brilliant eyes that were turned with
their owner's smiling faces on us, I saw one which never could be forgotten
by me, that belonged to Anneke Mordaunt. I question if we were recognised,
for the passage was like that of a meteor; but I could not avoid turning
to gaze after the gay party. This change of position enabled me to be a
witness of a very amusing consequence of Mr. Worden's experiment. A sleigh
was coming in our direction, and the party in it seeing one who was known
for a clergyman, _walking_ on the ice, turned aside and approached him on
a gallop, in order to offer the courtesy of a seat to a man of his sacred
profession. Our divine heard the bells, and fearful of having a sleigh so
near him, he commenced a downright flight, pursued by the people in the
sleigh, as fast as their horses could follow. Everybody on the ice pulled
up to gaze in wonder at this strange spectacle, until the whole party
reached the shore, the Rev. Mr. Worden pretty well blown, as the reader may
[Footnote 17: Forty years ago, a gentleman in New York purchased a
considerable body of wild land, on the faith of the map. When he came
to examine his new property, it was found to be particularly wanting in
water-courses. The surveyor was sought, and rebuked for his deception, the
map having numerous streams, &c. "Why did you lay down all these streams
here, where none are to be found?" demanded the irritated purchaser,
pointing to the document. "Why?--Why who the d---l ever saw a map without
rivers?" was the answer. EDITOR.]
[Footnote 18: In nothing was the difference of character between the people
of New England, and those of the middle colonies, more apparent than in the
nature of the dwellings. In New York, for instance, men worth thousands
dwelt in humble, low, (usually one story) dwellings of stone, having
window-shutters, frequently within as well as without, and the other
appliances of comfort; whereas the farmer farther east, was seldom
satisfied, though his means were limited, unless he lived in a house as
good as his neighbour's; and the strife dotted the whole of their colonies
with wooden buildings, of great pretension for the age, that rarely
had even exterior shutters, and which frequently stood for generations
unfinished. The difference was not of Dutch origin, for it was just as
apparent in New Jersey or Pennsylvania as in New York, and I think it
may be attributed to a very obvious consequence of a general equality of
condition, a state of society in which no one is content to wear even the
semblance of poverty, but those who cannot by any means prevent it; but,
in which all strive to get as high as possible, in appearances at
Bid physicians talk our veins to temper,
And with an argument new-set a pulse,
Then think, my lord, of reasoning unto love.
As the road from the ferry into the town ran along the bank of the river,
we reached the point where the Rev. Mr. Worden had landed precisely at
the same instant with his pursuers, who had been obliged to make a little
circuit, in order to get off the ice. I do not know which party regarded
the other in the greatest astonishment,--the hunted, or the hunters. The
sleigh had in it two fine-looking young fellows, that spoke English with a
slight Dutch accent, and three young women, whose bright coal-black eyes
betokened surprise a little mitigated by a desire to laugh. Seeing that we
were all strangers, I suppose, and that we claimed the runaway as belonging
to our party, one of the young men raised his cap very respectfully, and
opened the discourse by asking in a very civil tone--
"What ails the reverent gentleman, to make him run so fast?"
"Run!" exclaimed Mr. Worden, whose lungs had been playing like a
blacksmith's bellows--"Run! and who would not run to save himself from
"Drowned!" repeated the young Dutchman, looking round at the river, as if
to ascertain whether the ice were actually moving--"why does the Dominie
suppose there was any danger of _that?_"
As Mr. Worden's bellows were still hard at work, I explained to the young
Albanians that we were strangers just arrived from the vicinity of New
York; that we were unaccustomed to frozen rivers, and had never crossed
one on the ice before; that our reverend companion had chosen to walk at a
distance from the road, in order to be in less danger should any team break
in, and that he had naturally run to avoid their sleigh when he saw it
approaching. The Albanians heard this account in respectful silence, though
I could see the two young men casting sly glances at each other, and that
even the ladies had some little difficulty in altogether suppressing
their smiles. When it was through, the oldest of the Dutchmen--a fine,
dare-devil, roystering-looking fellow of four or five-and-twenty, whose
dress and mien, however, denoted a person of the upper class,--begged a
thousand pardons for his mistake, quitting his sleigh and insisting on
having the honours of shaking hands with the whole of us. His name was
'Ten Eyck,' he said; 'Guert Ten Eyck,' and he asked permission, as we were
strangers, of doing the honour of Albany to us. Everybody in the place knew
him, which, as we afterwards ascertained, was true enough, for he had
just as much reputation for fun and frolic as at all comported with
respectability; keeping along, as it were, on the very verge of the pale
of reputable people, without being thrown entirely out of it. The young
females with him were a shade below his own natural position in society,
tolerating his frolics on account of this circumstance, aided as it was by
a singularly manly face and person, a hearty and ready laugh, a full purse,
and possibly by the secret hope of being the happy individual who was
designed by Providence to convert 'a reformed rake into the best of
husbands.' In a word, he was always welcome with them, when those a little
above them felt more disposed to frown.
Of course, all this was unknown to us at the time, and we accepted
Guert Ten Eyck's proffers of civility in the spirit in which they
were offered. He inquired at what tavern we intended to stop, and
promised an early call. Then, shaking us all round by the hand again
with great cordiality, he took his leave. His companion doffed a very
dashing, high, wolf-skin cap to us, and the black-eyed trio, on the
hind-seat, smiled graciously, and away they drove at a furious rate,
startling all the echoes of Albany with their bells. By this time Mr.
Worden was seated, and we followed more moderately, our team having
none of the Dutch courage of a pair of horses fresh from the stable.
Such were the circumstances under which we made our entrance into the
ancient city of Albany. We were all in hopes, the little affair of
the chase would soon be forgotten, for no one likes to be associated
with a ridiculous circumstance, but we counted without our host.
Guert Ten Eyck was not of a temperament to let such an affair sleep,
but, as I afterwards ascertained, he told it with the laughing
embellishments that belonged to his reckless character, until, in
turn, the Rev. Mr. Worden came to be known, throughout all that
region, by the nick-name of the "Loping Dominie."
The reader may be assured our eyes were about us, as we drove through the
streets of the second town in the colony. We were not unaccustomed to
houses constructed in the Dutch style, in New York, though the English mode
of building had been most in vogue there, for half a century. It was not so
with Albany, which remained, essentially, a Dutch town, in 1758. We heard
little beside Dutch, as we passed along. The women scolded their children
in Low Dutch, a use, by the way, for which the language appears singularly
well adapted; the negroes sang Dutch songs; the men called to each other
in Dutch, and Dutch rang in our ears, as we walked our horses through the
streets, towards the tavern. There were many soldiers about, and other
proofs of the presence of a considerable military force were not wanting;
still, the place struck me as very provincial and peculiar, after New York.
Nearly all the houses were built with their gables to the streets, and each
had heavy wooden Dutch stoops, with seats, at its door. A few had small
court-yards in front, and, here and there, was a building of somewhat more
pretension than usual. I do not think, however, there were fifty houses in
the place, that were built with their gables off the line of the streets.
We were no sooner housed, than Dirck and I sallied forth to look at the
place. Here we were, in one of the oldest towns of America; a place that
could boast of much more than a century's existence, and it was natural to
feel curious to look about one. Our inn was in the principal street,--that
which led up the hill towards the fort. This street was a wide avenue, that
quite put Broadway out of countenance, so far as mere width was concerned.
The streets that led out of it, however, were principally little better
than lanes, as if the space that had been given to two or three of the main
streets had been taken off of the remainder. The High Street, as we English
would call it, was occupied by sleds filled with wood for sale; sleds
loaded with geese, turkeys, tame and wild, and poultry of all sorts;
sleds with venison, still in the skin, piled up in heaps, &c.,--all these
eatables being collected, in unusual quantities as we were told, to meet
the extraordinary demand created by the different military messes. Deer
were no strangers to us; for Long Island was full of all sorts of game,
as were the upper counties of New Jersey. Even Westchester, old and well
settled as it had become, was not yet altogether clear of deer, and nothing
was easier than to knock over a buck in the highlands. Nevertheless, I had
never seen venison, wild turkeys and sturgeons, in such quantities as they
were to be seen that day in the principal street of Albany.
The crowd collected in this street, the sleighs that were whirling past,
filled with young men and maidens, the incessant jingling of bells, the
spluttering and jawing in Low Dutch, the hearty English oaths of serjeants
and sutlers'-men and cooks of messes, the loud laughs of the blacks, and
the beauty of the cold clear day, altogether produced some such effect on
me, as I had experienced when I went to the theatre. Not the least striking
picture of the scene, was Jason, in the middle of the street, gaping
about him, in the cocked-hat, the pea-green coat, and the striped woollen
Dirck and myself naturally examined the churches. These were two, as has
been said already,--one for the Dutch, and the other for the English. The
first was the oldest. It stood at the point where the two principal streets
crossed each other, and in the centre of the street, leaving sufficient
passages all round it. The building was square, with a high pointed roof,
having a belfry and weathercock on its apex; windows, with diamond panes
and painted glass, and a porch that was well suited both to the climate and
to appearances. 
We were examining this structure, when Guert Ten Eyck accosted us, in his
frank, off-hand way--
"Your servant, Mr. Littlepage; your servant, Mr. Follock," he cried, again
shaking each cordially by the hand. "I was on the way to the tavern to
look you up, when I accidentally saw you here. A few gentlemen of my
acquaintance, who are in the habit of supping together in the winter time,
meet for the last jollification of the season to-night, and they have all
express't a wish to have the pleasure of your company. I hope you will
allow me to say you will come? We meet at nine, sup at ten, and break up at
twelve, quite regularly, in a very sedate and prudent manner."
There was something so frank and cordial, so simple and straight-forward in
this invitation, that we did not know how to decline it. We both knew that
the name of Ten Eyck was respectable in the colony; our new acquaintance
was well dressed, he seemed to be in good company when we first met him,
his sleigh and horses had been actually of a more dashing stamp than usual,
and his own attire had all the peculiarities of a gentleman's, with the
addition of something even more decided and knowing than was common. It is
true, the style of these peculiarities was not exactly such as I had seen
in the air, manners and personal decorations of those of Billings and
Harris; but they were none the less striking, and none the less attractive;
the two Englishmen being "macaronis," from London, and Ten Eyck being a
"buck" of Albany.
"I thank you, very heartily, Mr. Ten Eyck," I answered, "both for myself
and for my friend"--
"And will let me come for you at half-past eight, to show you the way?"
"Why, yes, sir; I was about to say as much, if it be not giving you too
"Do not speak of tr-r-ouple"--this last word will give a very good
notion of Guert's accent, which I cannot stop to imitate at all times in
writing--"and do not say your _fre'nt_, but your _fre'ntz_."
"As to the two that are not here, I cannot positively answer; yonder,
however, is one that can speak for himself."
"I see him, Mr. Littlepage, and will answer for _him_, on my own account.
Depent on it, _he_ will come. But the Dominie--he has a hearty look, and
can help eat a turkey and swallow a glass of goot Madeira--I think I can
rely on. A man cannot take all that active exercise without food."
"Mr. Worden is a very companionable man, and is excellent company at a
supper-table. I will communicate your invitation, and hope to be able to
prevail on him to be of the party."
"T'at is enough, sir," returned Ten Eyck, or Guert, as I shall henceforth
call him, in general; "vere dere ist a vill, dere ist a vay." Guert
frequently broke out in such specimens of broken English, while at other
times he would speak almost as well as any of us. "So Got pless you my dear
Mr. Littlepage, and make us lasting friends. I like your countenance, and
my eye never deceives me in these matters."
Here, Guert shook us both by the hand again, most cordially, and left us.
Dirck and I next strolled up the hill, going as high as the English church,
which stood also in the centre of the principal street, an imposing and
massive edifice in stone. With the exception of Mother Trinity, in New
York, this was the largest, and altogether the most important edifice
devoted to the worship of my own church I had ever seen. In Westchester,
there were several of Queen Anne's churches, but none on a scale to compare
with this. Our small edifices were usually without galleries, steeples,
towers, or bells; while St. Peter's, Albany, if not actually St. Peter's,
Rome, was a building of which a man might be proud. A little to our
surprise, we found the Rev. Mr. Worden and Mr. Jason Newcome had met at the
door of this edifice, having sent a boy to the sexton in quest of the key.
In a minute or two, the urchin returned, bringing not only the key of the
church, but the excuses of the sexton for not coming himself. The door was
opened, and we went in.
I have always admired the decorous and spiritual manner in which the Rev.
Mr. Worden entered a building that had been consecrated to the services of
the Deity. I know not how to describe it; but it proved how completely he
had been drilled in the decencies of his profession. Off came his hat, of
course; and his manner, however facetious and easy it may have been the
moment before, changed on the instant to gravity and decorum. Not so with
Jason. He entered St. Peter's, Albany, with exactly the same indifferent
and cynical air with which he had seemed to regard everything but money,
since he entered "York Colony." Usually, he wore his cocked-hat on the back
of his head, thereby lending himself a lolloping, negligent, and, at the
same time, defying air; but I observed that, as we all uncovered, he
brought his own beaver up over his eye-brows, in a species of military
bravado. To uncover to a church, in his view of the matter, was a sort of
idolatry; there might be images about, for anything he knew; "and a man
could never be enough on his guard ag'in being carried away by such evil
deceptions," as he had once before answered to a remonstrance of mine, for
wearing his hat in our own parish church.
I found the interior of St. Peter's quite as imposing as its exterior.
Three of the pews were canopied, having coats of arms on their canopies.
These, the boy told us, belonged to the Van Rensselaer and Schuyler
families. All these were covered with black cloth, in mourning for some
death in those ancient families, which were closely allied. I was very much
struck with the dignified air that these patrician seats gave the house of
There were also several hatchments suspended against the walls; some being
placed there in commemoration of officers of rank, from home, who had died
in the king's service in the colony; and others to mark the deaths of some
of the more distinguished of our own people.
Mr. Worden expressed himself well pleased with appearances of things, in
and about this building; though Jason regarded all with ill-concealed
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